Smash and grab thieves are targeting Edinburgh’s black cabs in a bid to steal expensive onboard HTC computers.
The computers, which utilize new technology and software to enable drivers to receive jobs on screen, are commonly used by firm including City Cabs and Central Taxis and have been among items stolen from glove boxes when cabs have been hit in the past month in the areas of Drylaw, Muirhouse, Silverknowes and West Pilton.
Despite software on the PDAs (personal data assistants) being hardwired and specific to taxis only, with a retail value ranging up to £400, it makes the devices an attractive target for thieves to unlock and then sell on.
A statement from City Cabs confirmed that eight of its fleet alone had been the subject of these attempted thefts and, as broken glass does not generally affect a driver’s no claims discount on their taxi insurance policy, industry insiders suggest that many of the incidents may have gone unreported.
With thieves typically smashing the passenger window to gain access to the car, local glaziers have also noticed an increase in the number of taxis having passenger side windows replaced in recent weeks. Dave Conquer of Premier Windscreens Club has said that as many as 27 taxis in the last three weeks have been repaired, the vast majority due to a break-in.
In light of the break-ins, which have often taken place in broad daylight, both taxi firms and local police are now urging all taxi drivers to take extra security precautions to combat the thieves, such as removing the HTC devices when vehicles are left unattended.